Thursday, 30 September 2010

fever dreams

I got really sick during the book fair, and still haven't recovered, hence the lack of posts. Nothing serious really, just a typical autumn flu with fever, it's just that the fever refuses to budge, and I'm getting very annoyed by it cos I've got no strength to do anything! As much as I like being lazy and just sit in front of the telly for hours, or read blogs and stuff for a full weekend, it's not as much fun when it's the only thing I can do without getting exhausted after 10 minutes. But enough of feeling sorry for myself now!

What I have been doing a lot while lying on the couch is dreaming about places I wanna go, at the moment North American cities seem to be where I wanna go the most: Seattle, New York, Portland, San Francisco, Vancouver, Austin, Montreal, New Orleans. I still haven't been anywhere out west, so it's a giant white canvas for me. Or whatever. Either way I hope I get to visit at least a few of those cities eventually, and that they live up to my giant expectations.

I also want to go to quite a few places out east of course, Hanoi, Tokyo, Beijing, Singapore, Hong Kong, Kyoto, Bangkok. And I always want to go to my other home, South Africa, where there are so many more places to discover. Being a complete creature of habits though (and having married another one), I would be quite happy just going back to The Estuary down the South Coast in KwaZulu Natal, where we spent a wonderful weekend last August. The picture is from that magical place.

I'm not very adventurous at all, when I find some thing or some place I like, I go back there, over and over again. But with dreams you can come a long way just the same. It got me all the way to the other side of the world for one. And in just a few short days my favorite part of that part of the world (well in all the world actually) is coming up north to join me for winter. There's nothing like hibernating together.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

animal prints and books

So tomorrow I'm off to the book fair in Gothenburg, and it still feels a bit surreal. The last few weeks really flew by. The outcome of the election on Sunday was dismal, but for now and the next days I need to put my feelings aside and just focus on work. My packing is just about done, although as usual I'm considering putting in another dress, just to be safe. I'll sleep on it. (Well not the dress, just the thought of it.) As you can see I've got my fair share of books already, but being completely surrounded by new books at the fair will be a temptation anyway.

I've got a handful of places I always go to at the fair, and try to get there on the first day. Well the first day is pretty much the only time I might have to walk around on my own, we've got a packed schedule. It would truly be a luxurious thing to be able to see everything, and to go listen to seminars as well, but there will be no time for that unfortunately. Those pleasures are for others.

This shelf with (mostly) Swedish comic books doesn't have any space left, so I will have to continue on the one below, because Swedish new comic books is one of my first investments on the fair. I already know two books I need to get my hands on, but will probably find some others I haven't had the time to find out about yet. I love that.

This is part of my children's picture book collection, which might grow a bit too. Although I don't get nearly as many nowadays as when I worked with children's books. Which is a shame.

There's not really any room left on this shelf for my soft cover books as well, and too many of them are still unread, so I'm gonna try and stay away from getting more of those for the time being.

As the publishing house I work for is called Leopard, I think every year that maybe I should get something leopard print for the book fair, just for the fun of it. It's just that I'm not really a huge fan of animal print. At the moment though, the stores are just packed with leopard prints in all sorts of shapes and sizes and colours, and doing a quick search today I surprised myself with getting four leopard print items! First a cute scarf with both leopard print and lovely blue and purple flowers from H&M. It comes in three different colours for 99 kronor, all of them looking very nice, but I liked the purple most.

Also from H&M is this little leopard print hairclip or pin, for 29 kronor. Not really sure how I'm gonna use it, but I thought it was pretty and cheap enough not to have to decide that before I got it.

I got a blouse as well, from Åhléns. I love this gypsy style, and it's actually almost pink, or maybe more powder, which I really like. I also had a skirt and a vest in mind that I would wear it with, and when I tried it on when I came home it looked really good. So I'm feeling quite happy with this buy! As it seems to be extremely trendy with the leopard print right now, I'm guessing I won't be the only one wearing it at the fair, but I've got more reason than most, right? Just the fact that I'll be wearing a name tag saying Leopard, I mean come on!? It can't match more than that.

Finally I also couldn't resist this tote bag from H&M, for only 29 kronor too. AND the proceedings of it goes to Unicef, so good cause shopping at the same time. Me like.

Anyways, I need to do some final packing now, and get my beauty sleep. Enjoy the rest of the week and the weekend, and I'll get back with some serious author gossip next week!

Sunday, 19 September 2010

drumroll please: giveaway winner!

With the help of I'm very happy to announce the winner of the Daniela Sigurd postcard necklace: Lauren! Congratulations! Please email me your postal address so I can send it to you. Because I do believe the postcard itself is a little bit too small for me to write on. Thanks to everybody for entering, there will be more little treats coming along in the future for sure!

Five things that made my week:
1. Listening to Säkert's new album "Facit", Swedish music at it's very best
2. Realising that all my friends share my political views.
3. Seeing a lovely small exhibition with genius comic book writer Sara Granér.
4. Designing a book cover and feeling very happy about it.
5. Cooking great food with one of my best friends.

Have a nice evening! I'll be anxiously awaiting the outcome of the Swedish election, which is pretty nerve wrecking to be honest. I can't stand another four years of these right wing clowns! Let solidarity be the winner, please.

Friday, 17 September 2010

let there be light

During the short precious summer months up north, there's hardly any need of lamps at home since the sun just sets for a few hours when you're usually asleep anyway. Come autumn, it's the complete opposite, and it's important to have comforting lighting around you, in my opinion. I'm a true housecat, in the sense that I love staying at home simply because I really love my home. Or homes, as it happens nowadays. Some might think that's boring, I don't care really. Each to their own. This beautiful 50's lamp has been in my family since the 50's, and was originally in my great grandmother Agnes' home. I love it to bits, and am so glad it's survived time and a lot of moves so well. Also, you can see parts of my dress collection hiding in the dusk behind it ...

As I've mentioned before I'm not a big fan of ceiling lamps, but that doesn't mean I don't hang them up. I just don't turn on the light. This gorgeous turquoise Chinese silk lamp was an investment after I redid my living room. It sort of hovers in the ceiling like a cloud.

A Chinese lantern from India? At least from Indiska. I think it's completely perfect on it's own, so I've never bothered to put a lamp in it. It used to hang over my bed, but I like it more now hanging in the window, where I can see it better.

Another investment when I redid the living room, which was maybe five years ago now. I had a similar flea market find lamp before, that unfortunately broke in a move, so when I found this teak floor lamp in a vintage store I got it. I love the warm light it throws. I got a 60's teak desk at the same time in that place, and since the store was brand new the supernice lady who ran it also gave me a vintage skirt for free because I bought two other things, and delivered everything to my flat for free. My kind of deal.

Many years ago I saw this red beauty in a lamp shop when I walked by with my one of my brothers. I stopped and admired it, and a few weeks later I got it for my birthday. At that time it was one of the first Chinese red things I had, maybe a subconscious beginning of a collection? Anyway, both my grown up brothers are great gift givers, it runs in the family, it's not for nothing I was appointed gift master at one of my best friend's wedding. Not that I wanna brag or anything, I'm just saying.

An actual Indian lamp from Indiska. At least an Indian lamp shade. Last autumn I got a queen size bed, fit for a married couple, and a new bed aquires a new bedside lamp, obviously. Behind it is the official wedding photo of said married couple.

I love Chinese lanterns, did I mention that before? No, I never! This is probably one of my favorite buys ever, I love this line of lanterns so incredibly much! When I found it in the Chinese shop in Copenhagen that I always go to, maybe 5-6 years ago, I almost had a heart attack cos I got so excited. I think the guy in the shop thought I was a bit weird. Walking back to my friend's apartment where I was staying it was very stormy, and I was so scared I'd drop my bag and it would fly off. So I held on to that bag so tight I had to bend my fist open once I got inside. Going back to Stockholm on the train, I carefully kept the bag between my legs the whole trip. It's been decorating my wall ever since, and for very festive occasions I even turn on the fairy lights inside the lanterns, it's the prettiest thing you ever saw.

On the top shelf of my little teak book case resides a tiny crooked uglycute lamp that I got at a flea market for 10 kronor (abt. 10 rands). I couldn't resist it. Just as I can't make myself throw out the basically dead ivys either. Some things are just harder than others, and even dead ivys are ivys.

Next chapter in this exciting series: fairy lights. Until then, me and my Japanese girlfriends bid you adieu and good night.

But first we'd like to remind you all about the current giveaway, open until Sunday night. All you have to do is become a follower and post a comment, and you can get a beautiful necklace made by Daniela Sigurd for that tiny effort. Check out further details here.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

particularly pretty penguins pt. 3

In honour of the beginning autumn, I'm gonna pretty up the blog with some more beautiful penguins in a very leafy yellow colour. These are all from the series Great Ideas, and it's just a parade of excellent graphic design, typography, and of course book titles. No one does it like Penguin. I adore them, have I mentioned that before? Well, sorry for going on about it, but just get used to it, because this love is here to last.

Outside the leaves are still green, but the temperature occasionally dips down to about 10-12 degrees, definitely feels like autumn. Unlike Durban, that I hear was boilers today with proper summer heat, although it's just spring. The southern seasons don't really compare with the northern ones, and come winter here I'm most likely gonna go on about how much I miss the Durban sun.

Don't forget about the giveaway, there's still plenty of time to enter!

Sunday, 12 September 2010

pretty giveaway starting now!

So this is my promised first giveaway, kindly sponsored by the very talented jewellery designer Daniela Sigurd, originally from Sweden but now living and working in London. I own several of her lovely pieces, and this particular necklace is one of my absolute favorites! It's got a little postcard saying "I love you", a small swallow and a swarowski crystal, and it's completely adorable.

Here's a closeup on my own necklace, sorry that the colours are a little bit off, it's a lot more golden than this as you can see in the first picture. This is how you enter the giveaway:

1. Be a follower of this blog, and in a comment answer this question: from where (not necessarily where you are right now) and to whom would you send this postcard necklace? Easy peasy!
2. For an extra entry, become a fan of Daniela Sigurd's jewellery on her facebook page OR spread the word about this giveaway, and let me know you did so.

This giveaway is open to anyone, the more the merrier, and the winner will be picked randomly. You can enter until next Sunday, the 19th of September, and I will announce the winner on Monday the 20th.

I just wanna show off some of my other Daniela Sigurd jewellery, while I'm at it. I fell in love with this love letter envelope just as much as the postcard necklace, so I simply got both!

It's almost too cute for words! I don't open the envelope and read it that often, but really like knowing I've got it around my neck. You can never get too much love. Okay, that got a bit cheesy, I know ... I still love this necklace!

A stunning piece with one thing more beautiful than the other. I never get tired holding the tiny dragonfly when I wear it, it's so delicate and pretty.

Another gorgeous necklace with gold and pink and mother of pearl. Pretty pretty pretty!

A couple of sweet swallows for my ears, I'm not twittering, but they might be.

And some hummingbirds that get out flying with me on a very regular basis. To see more of the wonderful Daniela Sigurd designs, head over to her website straight away, well after entering this giveaway of course!

On a last note: I would send the necklace postcard from San Fransisco, a city I have yet to visit but have been dreaming about for a very long time, to my grandmother because I love her and she doesn't read emails!

Saturday, 11 September 2010

cute cafés of gothenburg

As I'm almost about to get ready for Gothenburg again (in two weeks the book fair is on it's third day), I'm thinking back to some of the best things I experienced when I was there just a month ago. To me Gothenburg has always been a city of excellent cafés, a bit like Berlin actually, where you can find a nice, cute place with great coffee and food and friendly staff in just about every corner. Nowadays I don't go out for coffee as much as I used to in Stockholm, and of course there are some good places here too, but they're definitely harder to find for some reason. Maybe I'm too picky, or can't see the forest for the trees, or whatnot. Anyways, my friend and her husband found this rather excellent "hole-in-the-wall" coffee shop close to their hotel in Gothenburg, and she brought me there one morning. I don't remember the name of the street, and it didn't have a sign with a name, but I think I'll find it again if you wanna come with sometime! The coffee was indeed divine, and I just had to take a picture of these adorable vintage looking bottles of soda from Abbondio. After having seen them in that place, I spotted them in another few places too. If I find them here in Stockholm I'll buy a set for sure.

Another very nice little café we stumbled upon just as we got really hungry for some lunch during one of our shopping rounds. It's on Andra Långgatan, a street supposedly known for being a street representing the whole of Gothenburg, according to a local newspaper. I don't know about that really, but this café is sure worth a visit anyway. "Konsthantverk" means arts and crafts, and when we were there they had a small art exhibition in one of the rooms, and some pretty jewellery in a glass cabinet.

I had a delicious goat's cheese salad with beatroots for lunch, and a refreshing organic raspberry soda in a lovely looking bottle.

With the turquoise walls and vintage teak furniture you might guess I'd feel right at home there, and you'd guess completely right. My fave kind of café looks just like this. There were some tables with sofas as well, but they were occupied and I didn't want to take pics of people.

Very cute vintage lamps above our table, I think they look like jewellery. I like it a lot! Which reminds me that I should phone an electrician and get some wiring problems sorted out in our flat, so that I can hang up some more lamps. Although I do prefer my lamps elsewhere than the ceilings, which is weird, I know I know. I can't help it. Two other cafés I'd like to mention while on the topic are Le Petite Francais (at least I think that's the name, it's something with Francais anyway) on Västra Hamngatan just by Domkyrkan, which is a french café with really good café au lait and a ton of different delicious pastry; and the other one is on Viktoriagatan just a stone's throw away from Vasagatan, called Café and the Bakery, where a very friendly lady serves wonderful coffee and lots of lovely goodies for the sweet tooth. I sure wish I had some downtime to go back to at least a few of these places when I go to Gothenburg next time, but unfortunately I won't. I'm stuck with grabbing coffee on the go from an automat whenever I can get a few minutes to myself. At least it's free.

On another topic, apparently my last post wasn't the 100th (blogger is confusing!) but I'm still gonna host a giveaway to celebrate it very soon. Be sure to check back to enter!

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

happy hundred

I had something extra special planned for this post – my 100th – but it will have to be postponed for a while, due to lack of time and energy at the moment. So I leave you with this lovely Chinese lady, one of my vintage posters that I got in Berlin some years ago, and the promise to be back as soon as I can, with my very first giveaway!

Also a small list of 5 favorites as of right now:
1. Eating applepie.
2. Watching The Wire.
3. Listening to Noah and the Whale.
4. Reading Alice Munro.
5. Wearing warmer clothes.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

fireworks for fall

I finally wore my lovely Asian looking 60's fireworks/trees polyester dress that I got earlier this summer from Humana. I truly love it! To match I also wore my tree earrings from Durban, that I got for my birthday last year. Dressed up this nicely I spent the entire day doing loads of laundry, getting some stuff from the basement storage, like a few coats and knitted scarves and hats, and organised two closets, making space for my husbands clothes, storing away some summery items, and so on.

To accompany a big collection of dresses in a cold climate are the essential tights, a wear and tear piece of clothing I really like. Well, I don't really like the tearing part of course, I wish all tights were untearable, or maybe that I was just more careful. Or both. Either way, seeing all these colours laid out like this makes me quite happy about the arrival of autumn.

Moving some summer tops I suddenly got a little extra space in my small cabinet, but on the other hand I didn't get all my knitwear from the storage yet, the really big and warm things. They need to stay somewhere too. Not for a while though, as I hope it won't be that cold until December at least.

I needed to go to Åhléns to get some more hangers, and thought I could reward myself for all the hard work I'd been doing all day. So I got this cute belt I saw the other week, and have been thinking about since. It cost 99 kronor, and I love the leaves and vintage look, and it will go great with a lot of my dresses.

Since the tearing thing mentioned above is quite common, I also got two pairs of new tights in some really lovely autumn colours, both matching my dress perfectly. Which means I will wear this dress a whole lot from now on, maybe even to the rather big book release party I'm going to this Thursday with work. I mean what could be more festive than fireworks to a release party?

Friday, 3 September 2010

when autumn falls

As I was putting my little red bird into place today, I noticed one of my biggest and most luscious plants is planning on getting even bigger. As my ivys, to my great distress, are not doing so well, I was very happy to see this. I might actually have to let my ivys go, and it's so sad, cos they were so incredibly beautiful when I got them, and now they're all infested with something that's killing them. If I buy new ones, I'll make sure to ask in the store if there's anything at all I can do to prevent it, cos it's never happened to me before.

I did end up buying a new iPod the other day, and I got the latest nano, that was presented on Wednesday night for the first time, and I was actually following the news minute by minute! To my own surprise I must add, but I just got into it. And the new nano is ridiculously cute, I have to say, it's pretty much an extraordinary musical brooch, and I got it in red. Will have to wait quite a bit for it though, but very much looking forward to it's arrival. So since I had already shopped big time this week, and also got some really good news yesterday, I thought I'd pop into Humana vintage after work to check out what's “new” for autumn. (Don't you admire how I made that sound logical?!) They had lots of goodies for sure, but I wasn't in the mood for trying that much of clothes on, so I ended up with these shoes for 249 kronor instead.

They're Bally, very classic looking, and in really good shape. They've been worn well. I actually don't have any shoes like this, and have been looking around without finding anything. Would have loved if they were brogues, but just changing the old tired shoelaces for red silk ribbons made them prettier I think. I'm quite certain we'll become good friends this autumn.

I got some great discount coupons end of August, and I happily and naïvely think that it's the stores practically giving me money to shop for, but I do of course know I only get the coupons cos I've spent so much of money there in the first place ... Oh, well, I still think it's good to be awarded with shopping for shopping! At Åhléns, my fave department store, I found this cute handbag on final sale. I've been looking at it before, but thought 400 kronor was a bit expensive, how ever cute it was. Now I got it for 50 kronor!

What I like most about it, is that it's got loads of pockets, and as I tend to spend a lot of time trying to find things in my bag, this is most welcome. It's actually only last year that I've started to use more “grown-up” hand bags, especially leather bags, that I've never had before. This is only my third one too, so it's not like it's a collection with one for every outfit. That would be quite a collection, I tell you!

The other coupon was for H&M, and I found this adorable white cotton cardigan that will be perfect for so many of my dresses when the days are getting colder (which is pretty much as of Monday this week). With the discount I got it for 50 kronor, thank you very much. I fell a bit in love with another cardigan too, if it's still there at the end of the month I think I might get it, as a birthday gift for myself.

Although this year I will get the best birthday gift possible: I'm finally being reunited with my husband. Staying on opposite sides of the world has been difficult for sure, but when you know what you've got, things are what they are. If that makes any sense. It does to me anyway, and that's what's important. Obviously being in the same place is the best, not even a thousand vintage dresses or a private show with The National in my living room would beat that.